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Politics & Government

Stories about politics and government actions

Macomb County

Macomb County Clerk Karen Spranger has agreed to let a move of some of her departments take place -- but only after she was sued by the county. 

Spranger has been butting heads with Macomb County officials and getting into trouble ever since she took office in January.  

The former anti-government activist lost access to her county-owned computer for weeks, after she was caught letting friends, who were not county employees, use it. 

State Rep. John Kivela, D-Marquette
John Kivela's office website

There were tears and hugs on the floor of the state House today as colleagues got word that state Rep. John Kivela, D-Marquette, took his life – one day after his second arrest on a charge of drunk driving.

“I’m sure today is the toughest day we will experience this term together,” House Speaker Tom Leonard told his colleagues in the House. “And I truly have no words about the loss of our dear friend, John Kivela.”

An American flag, an elephant and a donkey.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

In Michigan, the news report Inside Michigan Politics ranks the most conservative and the most liberal members of the state legislators. Among conservatives, ranking among the most conservative lawmakers is “branding.” It’s going to be on campaign literature.

For the second year, there's another ranking for most conservative legislators in Michigan. It's put out by the national group American Conservative Union.

A photograph of the Michigan Capitol building
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio file photo

Congressman Dan Kildee, who many expected to run for governor, said he won't enter the race. He’s going to run for another term in Congress instead.

That leaves former senate minority leader Gretchen Whitmer and former Detroit health director Abdul El-Sayed as candidates on the Democratic side.

Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Big business investors are waiting on Governor Rick Snyder to give them a break. A tax break that is, to build on blighted land.

Investors who buy blighted property would get new tax incentives, under a set of bills on their way to Governor Rick Snyder’s desk.

Last year, these so-called brownfield bills were nicknamed after Dan Gilbert, the prominent Detroit developer. That’s because opponents call them a gift to wealthy corporations at the expense of taxpayers.

Congressman Dan Kildee
Photo courtesy of the Office of Congressman Dan Kildee

A Michigan congressman has decided against running for governor in 2018 and instead will seek a fourth term in the U.S. House.

Democratic Rep. Dan Kildee of Flint Township made the announcement Tuesday in an email to supporters. His decision leaves former state Senate Minority Leader Gretchen Whitmer as the highest-profile candidate in the Democratic field.

Abdul El-Sayed, the former head of Detroit's health department, has been aggressively seeking to raise his profile with Democrats. Three other lesser-known candidates also are running.

Joan Larsen
University of Michigan Law School / screen grab from YouTube video

UPDATED @ 8:48 on 5/9/17

Michigan Supreme Court Justice Joan Larsen has been chosen by President Trump to serve on the Sixth Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Trump once put Larsen on his list of judges and lawyers he would consider naming to the U.S. Supreme Court.

 

Stateside 5.8.2017

May 8, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear from the MSU professor who was abruptly dismissed from the EPA's science review board. And, in addition to lawyers, should poor criminal defendants have a right to taxpayer-funded experts?

Judge's gavel
Joe Gratz / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

 


Last week, Michigan Radio’s Rick Pluta reported on the state Supreme Court agreeing to hear arguments about whether indigent defendants have the right to their own court-appointed experts. In this case, the defendant wanted a DNA expert. 

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency sign
TexasGOPVote / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

The Trump administration has dismissed some of the scientists who performed scientific reviews for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).

Robert Richardson, an ecological economist at Michigan State University, was one of the 18 members of the Board of Scientific Counselors from across the country. On Friday, he was notified that he was being dismissed.

There’s a face off between Governor Rick Snyder and Republican leaders over an issue that’s not even at the top of anyone’s to-do list.

The state Legislature is working away on the state budget and Republicans have been cutting Snyder’s budget proposal. They’re squirreling away money but they haven’t decided what to do with it yet.

Screen grab taken from Karen Spranger's Facebook page

Macomb County's new Clerk is a political neophyte who has stumbled into controversy after controversy since she took office five months ago. 

Money with bottle of pills
Images Money / Creative Commons http://michrad.io/1LXrdJM

The stalled Republican replacement for the Affordable Care Act cleared a big hurdle this week. Lawmakers in the U.S. House passed the bill -- thanks in part to a last minute addition from Michigan Congressman Fred Upton. This Week in Review, Weekend Edition host Rebecca Kruth and senior news analyst Jack Lessenberry talk about Upton's amendment and what the bill could mean for Michigan.

They also discuss a state Court of Appeals ruling that teachers can drop out of their union whenever they like, another attempt by lawmakers to scrap and replace pensions for new teachers, and budget proposals that passed the state House and Senate this week. 

RNC Chair Ronna Romney McDaniel holding a microphone
www.migop.org

Republican National Committee chair Ronna Romney McDaniel was in Lansing Friday. Her visit comes on the heels of a controversial health care vote.

Democrats fought the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. They say the Republican plan that would replace it has worse coverage and would cost millions their healthcare coverage. 

Romney McDaniel says the new plan will save American lives.

Stateside 5.5.2017

May 5, 2017

Today on Stateside, we hear some Michiganders could face financial stress and reduced access to care under the new health care bill. And, we learn about the last-second role Michigan played in ratifying the 27th Amendment... 200 years later.

ROBERT HUFFSTUTTER / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

As it turns out, Michigan played a significant role in the history of the 27th Amendment. Michigan put it over the top in 1992.

A photograph of the Michigan Capitol building
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio file photo

Voters still love the idea of term limits. The idea of “throw the rascals out” after a few terms is supposed to end career politicians and instead give us citizen legislators who are more connected to the people back home.

A new book explains 13 years of research into how term limits have worked in Michigan. Its title is Implementing Term Limits: The Case of the Michigan Legislature. It was written by the husband and wife team of Marjorie Sarbaugh-Thompson and Lyke Thompson.

Lester Graham / Michigan Radio

 


A Facebook post from Representative Andy Schor​, D-Lansing, caught some attention this week. He accused the Republican Speaker Pro-Tempore Lee Chatfield of violating the rules of the House and the state’s Constitution.

people in voting booths
Paulette Parker / Michigan Radio

Democrats in Lansing are seeking what they call a “Voting Bill of Rights.” That means no-reason absentee voting, early in-person voting, voter registration as late as 15 days before an election, and other things making it easier for people to vote.

Republicans have, in the past, offered bills for stricter voter identification laws.

According to Eric Lupher, cities, towns and villages pooling resources could help make services more affordable.
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

The Next Idea

A survey of local government leaders across Michigan finds they are not happy with state government.

The latest Michigan Public Policy Survey conducted by the University of Michigan heard from officials in more than 1,300 cities, counties, townships and villages.

Stateside 5.4.2017

May 4, 2017

The U.S. House of Representatives passed a new health care insurance plan this afternoon. Today on Stateside, Rep. Upton discusses the amendment he introduced to help offset costs of covering pre-existing conditions. And, we hear how "smiley face," "dancing girl" and "poop" emojis could help keep your data safe.

ALEX PROIMOS / FLICKR - HTTP://J.MP/1SPGCL0

In a close vote of 217 to 213, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a new health care insurance plan this afternoon.

For weeks, Republicans have struggled to gain enough votes to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act.

Doctor's office
steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Relieved Republicans have pushed their prized health care bill through the House. The mostly party-line 217-213 vote advances a bill that addresses their longtime pledge to erase the 2010 Obama health care law.

“Today, I voted to keep the promise I made to the voters of my district to rescue Americans from the collapsing health care law that has raised premiums and deductibles and replace it with a better health care system,” says Rep. John Moolenaar, R-Midland.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

Many Flint residents are upset that the city has started threatening to put liens on homes that are delinquent on their water and sewer bills.

Last month, the city of Flint sent out notices to more than 8,000 water customers.  The notices advise customers to either pay their delinquent water bills, or the city will put a lien on their home.   The delinquent bills amount to nearly $6 million.   

Rebecca Williams / Michigan Radio

Democrats in Lansing have renewed their mission for a Voter Bill of Rights.

Democrats in the state House attempted to pass a resolution to amend the Michigan Constitution last year. This time, State Representative Jon Hoadley is spearheading the effort.

Hoadley said a Voter Bill of Rights would empower people and let them know their voices are heard.

“The entire process from registering to vote in Michigan to dropping your ballot in the ballot box hasn’t improved in 20 years while other states, Red and Blue, have left us in the dust,” he said.

people in voting booths
Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Last night (May 2) voters in Ann Arbor and Kent County approved funding for schools. Two proposals that would have allowed the construction of wind farms spanning several townships in Huron County were defeated.

Schools in Michigan are not supposed to start the year until after Labor Day.  It is state law.

picture of donald trump
DONALDJTRUMP.COM

President Donald Trump talks a lot about "renegotiating" NAFTA.

There are few places that would feel the fallout from changes to the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) more than Michigan and Ontario.

Craig Mauger

This story was produced as a collaboration between Michigan Radio and the Michigan Campaign Finance Network. Graphics by Kaye LaFond. 

Michigan lawmakers who will decide whether to hand health insurance plans a major victory this spring have received about $1 million in contributions from committees and executives connected to the plans.

steve carmody / Michigan Radio

On Tuesday, voters across Michigan will decide whether to renew local taxes that fund public schools.

And voters in one Michigan community will be asked to vote for a millage renewal, that they’ve already rejected twice.

The state closed the Buena Vista school district in 2013.   Its students were divided among three other districts, including Saginaw public schools.

Since then, Buena Vista voters have twice shot down a renewal of a school millage on local businesses.

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